National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $82 million to fund local arts projects across the country in the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2017. Included in this announcement is an Art Works award of 34,000] to the Jefferson School of African American Heritage Center to develop public programming in support of the Vinegar Hill monument. The NEA received 1,728 Art Works applications and will make 1,029 grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000.

“The arts reflect the vision, energy, and talent of America’s artists and arts organizations,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support organizations such as The Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, in serving their communities by providing excellent and accessible arts experiences.”

According to Andrea Douglas, executive director of the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, the funds from the NEA will be used to support the Vinegar Hill monument project. It will allow us to engage the community about the role of public art in our community. We hope to work with various constituencies to create a meaningful dialogue about how an object like Melvin Edwards’ Untitled abstraction can signify the past, present and future.”

The Vinegar Hill monument project is an outgrowth of the City’s four year Dialogue on Race. It is hope the monument will assure our citizens that their story of a beloved neighborhood with a school on the hill above it is honored and treasured.  The total cost to fabricate, and install (including public programming) is $302,000. Fundraising for the project is ongoing.

To join the Twitter conversation about this announcement, please use #NEASpring17. For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, go to